Those in the Northern Hemisphere can feel it – winter is coming. The mornings are getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and soon we’ll all be snuggling in a blanket, waiting for the spring. If you want to prepare for this cold period, I suggest ditching the snuggy and taking a cold shower instead.
We acclimate to the world we live in. The more you seek warmth during the cold months, the more sensitive you will be to the cold throughout winter. Conversely, the more you seek out the cold via cold showers, ice baths, and long winter walks, the greater your tolerance to it will be.
Cold showers are a keystone habit for longevity; they are a great first step into a sustainable life. They are a mental workout (deciding to take it) and a physical one (boosting your blood flow). Plus, they don’t take extra time to incorporate into your life. You will most likely gain free time as your showers become more efficient.
Autumn is the perfect in-between time for cold showers. The water has not yet reached peak cold as the soil temperature has not yet dropped. While the air temperature is quickly dropping, so you can see the benefits of being more cold-tolerant.
Sure, it’s easiest to start taking cold showers in the summer, but if you are reading this, I am guessing you missed that boat and want to see how they can help you prepare for winter. There are practical reasons why cold showers are the way to go during winter, such as:
Increase your level of brown fat
Our bodies have three types of fat: white, brown and beige. White fat is the one we typically think of whose only purpose is to store excess energy – it is the least desirable. Brown fat is the opposite, metabolizing fatty acids to generate heat and energy. Meanwhile, beige fat has properties of both other types, thus allowing you to adapt based on your needs, whether storage or metabolism.
We have the highest levels of brown fat as babies, which decreases as we age, leaving only patches around our necks and shoulders as we become adults. Higher brown fat levels prepare you for winter by enabling your body to generate more heat.
Help keep your skin hydrated.
The secret to well-hydrated skin is to avoid long-hot showers. The longer and hotter your showers, the more natural oils you strip away – which you will need to replace with moisturizer. You can skip the need for moisturizer by simply decreasing the temperature of your shower. Reducing the temperature will inevitably shorten your shower, leaving your skin feeling fresh and vibrant.
Boost your immune system
Autumn and winter is prime time for common illnesses, and a robust immune system is crucial, especially with this whole pandemic thing still lingering around. While supplements are good, combining them with cold showers is even better to give you the best chance of avoiding the office cold this season.
When to take it
The energizing effect of cold showers makes them well-suited for your morning routine. A cold morning splash can give you a well-needed boost before you reach for that cup of coffee. For that same reason, it is often best to avoid making them part of your evening routine as they may wake you more than relax.
How to start taking a cold shower
Whether in the peak of summer or the bottom of winter, there is never a wrong time to start your cold shower habit. Though, the level of difficulty varies with the seasons. It might be harder to stay motivated if you start taking cold showers during a difficult period.
To stay motivated, take incremental steps to integrate cold showers into your life. Your suffering will be beneficial only if you stick with them. Like meditation, doing too much at once may leave you frustrated and unwilling to return.
As an introduction, start by ending your regular shower with a ten-second blast of cold water. As you get familiar with the discomfort, you can gradually turn down the heat earlier and earlier in your shower until it is purely cold.
Time can be hard to gauge in a shower, so it can help to break it down into steps. Rather than aiming for a time, gradually make more steps a part of your cold shower until every step is cold.
Before you go, don’t forget to consider your safety and well-being. If you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor before embarking on a new lifestyle. Cold showers have some risks, so take it slow and let yourself acclimate to your new normal. Longevity is a lifestyle, not a competition.
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